Tradition's Gift

Tradition - A Critical Primer - Steven Engler

Steven Engler [+-]
Mount Royal University
Steven Engler is Professor of Religious Studies at Mount Royal University in Calgary, Canada. He teaches a variety of courses and research popular Catholicism, Umbanda, Kardecist Spiritism and related spirit-incorporation religions in Brazil, as well as theories and methodology in the study of religion\s.


This chapter will clarify tradition’s relation to temporality through exploring the metaphor of tradition as a gift from the past (or from the divine). It highlights tradition’s conservatism, (i) as it engages those in the present in relations of reciprocity with an idealized (or illusory) version of the past, while at the same time (ii) doing this work by means of misrecognition. That is, the reception of tradition is portrayed as a passive repetition, which ignores tradition’s ongoing invention. This obscures its ideological dimensions and their relation to issues of identity construction. (The main example here will be the Brazilian spirit-possession religion, Candomblé.)

Notify A Colleague


Engler, Steven. Tradition's Gift. Tradition - A Critical Primer. Equinox eBooks Publishing, United Kingdom. Oct 2021. ISBN 9781781799086. Date accessed: 23 Sep 2020 doi: 10.1558/equinox.38405. Oct 2021

Dublin Core Metadata